Sunday, 13 January 2019

Kitchens.


This beautiful French 'chateau' (about 70 kms E of La Rochelle) is currently on the market at just below £360,000; the price of a Bournemouth beach hut. 

                                

As with so many French homes (of all sizes and social standings) it has a very rudimentary kitchen (below).


At our own village chateau the kitchen wasn't that different. When our friend L still lived there, she would produce the most wonderful meals with extremely basic kit. It was her skill that made her cooking so memorable; not the size or cost of her kitchen.

Lady Magnon often watches a TV programme about moving out to the country, and seeing the reaction of home hunters to often huge modern kitchens is quite amazing. I even saw one recently where a very big and very expensive 'high-end' kitchen was discounted because it had cupboards rather than drawers. How that is supposed to help anyone create a decent omelet; I'm not sure. 

Kitchens have become status symbols, rather than places where meals are prepared. In fact I am willing to bet good money that the more people complain about their new kitchens being too small or not having the right type of island, the less are their culinary capabilities. As long as the kitchen is huge and expensive, and contains a microwave; they're happy.



64 comments:

  1. I viewed a home recently that had been renovated to make the kitchen its focal point. The house felt sort of kitchen-heavy as a result. The living room/sitting room was pea-sized. -didn't really work.

    I am sorry to read of the loss of your beloved Bok.

    Bea x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Bea. It amazes me how many people view their most important room as the kitchen; then probably don't even cook in it.

      Delete
    2. Hello my name is Kallya from USA i want to tell the world about the great and mighty spell caster called Priest Ade my husband was cheating on me and no longer committed to me and our kids when i asked him what the problem was he told me he has fell out of love for me and wanted a divorce i was so heart broken i cried all day and night but he left home i was looking for something online when i saw an article how the great and powerful Priest Ade have helped so many in similar situation like mine he email address was there so i sent him an email telling him about my problem he told me he shall return back to me within 24hrs i did everything he asked me to do the nest day to my greatest surprise my husband came back home and was crying and begging for me to forgive and accept him back he can also help you contact
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      Hello my name is Kallya from USA i want to tell the world about the great and mighty spell caster called Priest Ade my husband was cheating on me and no longer committed to me and our kids when i asked him what the problem was he told me he has fell out of love for me and wanted a divorce i was so heart broken i cried all day and night but he left home i was looking for something online when i saw an article how the great and powerful Priest Ade have helped so many in similar situation like mine he email address was there so i sent him an email telling him about my problem he told me he shall return back to me within 24hrs i did everything he asked me to do the nest day to my greatest surprise my husband came back home and was crying and begging for me to forgive and accept him back he can also help you contact
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      Hello my name is Kallya from USA i want to tell the world about the great and mighty spell caster called Priest Ade my husband was cheating on me and no longer committed to me and our kids when i asked him what the problem was he told me he has fell out of love for me and wanted a divorce i was so heart broken i cried all day and night but he left home i was looking for something online when i saw an article how the great and powerful Priest Ade have helped so many in similar situation like mine he email address was there so i sent him an email telling him about my problem he told me he shall return back to me within 24hrs i did everything he asked me to do the nest day to my greatest surprise my husband came back home and was crying and begging for me to forgive and accept him back he can also help you contact
      ancientspiritspellcast@yahoo.com or ancientspiritspellcast@gmail.com

      https://ancientspiritspellcast12.wordpress.com

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      WhatsApp +2347059715465



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  2. I'm glad you're back Cro.
    I often complain about my kitchen being too small, my island isn't quite right, and I freely admit to being culinarily challenged. Hmmm...your theory may be true. :-\

    ReplyDelete
  3. While in some ways I think it would be wonderful to live in such a house, unless you have a large family, they really are not very practical which I suppose is why they are not expensive to buy. One thing for sure, an expensive modern kitchen does not ensure good food comes out of it. People here, especially the young, have gone crazy for food hot and ready to eat delivered to their home. Maybe kitchens will become token places to fill a kettle a make a sandwich.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most don't even eat in their fancy kitchens; they plonk themselves down in front of the TV.

      Delete
  4. Don't get me started on kitchens, oh wait you already did. Ours is not large enough because I am a messy cook. Biscuits rolled out over HERE, veggies being cut up over THERE, pans boiling away on the 3 of 4 burners that work on my propane stove, but I've never been a happier cook. 95% of our meals are from scratch and we've never felt healthier. My homemade concrete counter has some chips and lots of water spots so I never have to worry about staining it. All three of my sisters have nicely remodeled kitchens but don't have time to cook in them, they have to work to pay off the kitchen remodels. What a crazy world!


    P.S We have neither microwave or dishwasher.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you've proved my point. We do have a washing-up machine, but I have no idea how to use it.

      Delete
  5. We rent a vote most years in various parts of France and I always look forward to the kitchen. They are so diverse!
    I love the challenge of rustling up a meal using calor gas and rudimentary equipment.

    Hope you are healing.
    Best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Replies
    1. So many homes here are equipped with just a simple two ring portable calor gas 'cooker', but they manage.

      Delete
  7. I have cooked in kitchens of various sizes and with various equipment. Although my last kitchen was quite large it only had two elements. It didn't worry me but I was concerned when selling that it may have been a problem.

    The Real Estate agent said not to worry as so few people actually cook these days.

    I cook real food every day and hate the thought of "Fast Food".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also cook all my own meals (other than Muesli), and we have a very small kitchen.

      Delete
  8. I have a very small kitchen , I can cook every day and everything, if i am in the right mood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Luckily I'm always in the right mood for eating, and cooking is simply the 'prelude'. I love all aspects.

      Delete
  9. My kitchen does the job so why change it. It was put in in 1990 by the people who updated the house. The woman who did it was in here the other day and she expressed surprise that I still have the same kitchen.
    People are obsessed with house interiors. I am not. I also do not have a microwave and have never had one, nor a freezer. I cook on whatever is there and this kitchen has a Zanussi oven so I use it. In the summer I mostly cook outside on a small BBQ. Oh, and as you know, I dislike islands, they are an obstacle in the way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do have a Microwave, but it is used almost exclusively for re-heating Couscous, or occasionally the last night's curry for my breakfast. We have always had a kitchen table instead of a pukka island.

      Delete
  10. Isn’t it odd that the fashion is to knock down walls and have the biggest kitchen possible and yet the majority of people don’t cook these days ..... it’s all about social media and how everything is looking as if you live the perfect life !!! It’s all how it looks on the surface ... a bit of a farce really!!!
    I’m actually cooking and prepping right now as my sister and brother-in-law are coming for lunch. XXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's that TV programme, 'house in the country', that really annoys me. Lady M loves looking at interesting houses, but these people's demands for an ever bigger, and more expensive, kitchen makes me mad.

      Delete
    2. I liked that programme initially when it featured small country cottages with rustic original character, within reasonable prices. I liked the magazine Country Living for the same reasons but now it also seems to be geared towards the same yuppie market. Isn't it sad?

      Delete
    3. If they were Yuppies with reasonable taste it would be OK, but generally they're NOT.

      Delete
  11. I couldn’t agree more! A friend when she saw my Kitchen Aid mixer was very sniffy about it being on the worktop as a status symbol. I couldn’t bring myself to reply, she knows I am a retired chef and I didn’t feel the need to tell her it is in use most days, not least to knead our bread. Added to which our kitchen isn’t at all flash, and I am proud to say doesn’t sport a microwave.

    Welcome back.

    LXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really must start bread making again. It is such a therapeutic activity; and so satisfying (when the results are good).

      Delete
  12. Same here, couldn't agree more Cro, it's a 'fashion' isn't it? My kitchen is medium sized and what the fashionistas would call 'shabby chic'. It wasn't designed to be, (I don't think it was designed at all actually, haha!) it's just that it's ancient, gradually falling apart and old fashioned and the worktop is not the best. I don't even have a cooker hood or extractor fan, I just open the windows. But what the heck, I enjoy cooking and it suits my needs perfectly and I don't need a huge space with all that granite, stainless steel and glass or a place to 'entertain' and show off - I was never one of the dinner party brigade thank heavens!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The huge kitchen, and en-suite bathrooms, have become de rigueur amongst the Z listers and their followers. I find it all very worrying.

      Delete
    2. Don't get me started on en-suite bathrooms...

      Delete
  13. Our kitchen cupboards are over 30yrs old - look very dated! I just don't want the bother or faff of updating as it's always in use.
    My 2nd cousin has a very expensive kitchen - including a fryer like you would see in a chip shop.
    However it never gets used "as it'd dirty the kitchen", so the majority of their meals are courtesy of M&S ready made.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I suspect are so many with the same type of kitchens!

      Delete
  14. There is nothing better than cooking food on an outdoor fire, using timber for fuel. The food tastes so much better than anything cooked in or on a stove, proving once again that the old ways are better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I love cooking outdoors over a basic fire. Fun and Frolics, and the kids adore it.

      Delete
  15. Our galley kitchen is small compared to the rest of the house but I've managed to cook for the four of us for twenty years in it. The complaint I have is that it's too small for people to sit and chat with me while I cook. It's lonely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll have to practice shouting. I do it all the time, but that's because Lady M is a bit deaf.

      Delete
  16. If I can have a large kitchen, I'll take it. If not it needs to be very well organised with enough storage. And yes, I also prefer drawers, because I am now at an age that I don't want to spend time on my knees looking for whatever lurks at the back of the cabinets.
    That's not to say I have expensive taste. Far from it.
    We've just moved from Ireland to France and while the kitchen is of great size and with a cantou, I am looking for solutions to store the most essential items for cooking.
    I've now laid my hands on a few apple crates to serve as extra shelving.
    Cooking is my passion and I honestly can't wait to get a new kitchen.
    I agree with you though, that the more expensive the kitchen, the less there will be food prep going on.
    PS I am so sorry for your loss of Bok. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love cooking too. From choosing ingredients, to eating the result; I love the whole process.

      Delete
  17. When our apartment was built, provision was made for maids in the basement who also cooked on demand so the kitchens are teeny. Later, the area filled with cafes and restaurants so many residents eat out and just do basic stuff at home. I cook all the time and do parties and what not from mine.

    My kitchen only fits one person comfortably and if there are two standing in it and the fridge needs opening, one person has to step out. Luckily there is a hole in one wall looking into the dining room so comfortable chatting can still take place.It's like a galley on a boat! No room for microwave (never owned one) or full size gadgets like mixers or kettles but I have managed to squeeze in a normal size dishwasher and fridge.

    I don't get the giant kitchen obsession. Why? Clocking up 10,000 steps while cooking can't possibly make for a better meal. There was a telegenic English girl who had a TV cooking show, Little Paris Kitchen, shot in her kitchen which only had a 2-burner portable hotplate and one of those little counter ovens and all her kitchenalia was wonky and vintage. She was just demonstrating what fabulous stuff is cooked without fanfare in most tiny French & Italian kitchens.

    Nice to see you back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did see that cooking show once, and as you say it was a very typical, inconvenient, French kitchen. She never seemed to mind!

      Delete
  18. Here, the kitchen is the gathering room where everybody likes to be. When renovating, the most money goes into the kitchen. My daughter’s kitchen is hugh and lots of cooking, eating, and entertainment goes on there. I have to agree with you though, that with the pressures of work and time restraints during weekdays, many younger people don’t cook as much as we once did.

    So good to see you back on Blogger, Cro.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If one 'uses' a big well-equipped kitchen, all well and good. It's the huge expensive ones that are just for show that I find so silly.

      Delete
  19. I rent a small apt. in an old (for Toronto) building with just a galley kitchen - about 7' x 8' but with a huge window that overlooks a wooded area and I love it. Yes, I've had to jam in a bookcase for pots & pans and another cabinet for dishes but that has made me really think about what I need and it and it has forced me to make much better use of my dining area. The only thing I'd love is a bit more counter space - it's ok for day to day cooking but it's a bit tight when I want to do a lot of baking - but a bit of planning takes care of that issue.
    I always laugh at those house hunter shows where everyone demands granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances and when they show them later they are usually bringing in "take out" or at most cutting up some cheese for appetizers as they don't actually "cook"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly they represent a high percentage of homeowners.

      Delete
  20. I yearn for a kitchen which has work surfaces at my optimum level. I spend most of my domestic life bent double. I visited a chateaux like that years ago, run by children of ex-pat White Russians who fled the revolution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My good friend The Count Malvinski (sp?) has possibly the most cluttered and tiny kitchen you could imagine. It must be a White Russian thing.

      Delete
  21. I can't work out why anyone would get worked up about someone else's kitchen. I cook almost all my meals. I love cooking. I have a microwave (living alone batch cooking and freezing makes a lot of sense). I used regularly to cater for 12 although 6 is about as many as I cater for nowadays. I designed my own kitchen and built it myself from scratch back in 1995. It has the best view in the house apart from my study so I designed it so that I could also use it as my main day-time living space. It has copious work surfaces but if I were designing it now I would have a waist level oven and drawers instead of cupboards for the reasons Patricia gave above. I would also have a fan oven to help with the 6 large Christmas cakes I make each year (using my ancient Kenwood Chef). I have been trying to identify any among my friends (including my son and family) who do not cook. I can only think of one and he never cooked because his wife was a brilliant cook but now has Alzheimer's Disease. It may be a generation thing of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the only time I didn't cook was when living in tiny London bed-sits. Those Baby Belling cookers always seemed dangerous, and I preferred to eat out.

      Delete
  22. I live in a rural area of Ontario, and I would bet that most women around here cook. There are no quick little cafes to run out to and grab a bite or fast food restaurants from which to order. We used our 1940's (? taking a guess) kitchen (with modern appliances) up until a few years ago when we could afford to have it renovated. We now have wonderful cupboards and drawers which I absolutely love and make very good use of. Here, kitchens tend to be gathering areas. When we have company over, we always end up in the kitchen, with people seated / standing at the peninsula or around the big table. I had 15 people in the kitchen eating Christmas dinner this year. I do cook, I'm no chef, but I cook most food 'from scratch'. The work area of my kitchen is not huge, perhaps small by standards, but it means I can get to things quickly, including sink, fridge, work surface, stove. I don't know, maybe it's a North American thing? -Jenn

    ReplyDelete
  23. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen so I do like lots of worktop space and somewhere I can perch on a bar stool and keep an eye on proceedings. I admit to being a bit of an interiors freak, it's just something I enjoy doing for myself.

    ReplyDelete
  24. When we converted the old cart sheds I saw no advantage to having two smaller rooms when I could have one big living kitchen. That room is the heart of our home where I cook and bake all our food from scratch. In addition, I do meals for two of my grandchildren twice a day. I love spending time there and I like to see people enjoy my offerings. Doesn't mean that I like to cook! (Microwave is in the pantry - used only for heating up the hot packs for my back.)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I cope with a badly-designed 70's kitchen, but it works, there are just two of us, and I don't see the point in replacing units just for the sake of it. Our tiny microwave is only used for heating milk for coffee, and the small freezer holds home-made single portions, and meat and frozen veg. No ready-meals in this house!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Welcome back Cro. I am updating kitchen a little bit at a time. Strange, as I am employed by a Kitchen Design Showroom. I meet people daily, who don't understand exactly what they are getting into when gutting a kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
  27. My kitchen looks big but it isn't. Would like more counter space but I have a wall of windows that look out to the mountains. That is all I need,

    cheers, parsnip

    ReplyDelete
  28. When we bought this house a couple of months ago I admit to being thrilled with the updated kitchen. There's a nice gas range (my first time cooking on gas and I love it!) and lots of room and counter space. Not to mention plenty of cabinets and a small pantry area with lots of storage space. We also had to buy a new refrigerator and I got a shiny stainless steel model that's the nicest fridge I've ever owned.


    All that being said, though, I really DO use my kitchen. I cook at least one good homemade meal a day in the evening, and smaller breakfasts and lunches when time allows. And I've already had family and friends over several times and fully used my new kitchen--in fact, I spent two entire days cooking and baking right before Christmas. So I do use it, and joyfully, I might add! I love to cook!


    Along that same theme, I'm planning three small raised beds in the back to grow a few of our favorite veggies, and there's also going to be a raised bed devoted to herbs. I have a pomegranate bush in a large container that I'll be planting in the spring (and adding two more pomegranates to increase fruiting and flowering) and I'm searching for a good young fig tree to plant. There will be room for a couple of small fruit trees in addition to the fig so I'm still trying to decide what those will be. So you see, I really do love to cook so a nice kitchen won't be wasted on me! :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Good to see you back Cro. x

    ReplyDelete
  30. Our local carpenter says that the first thing people do when they buy a house is rip out the kitchen even if it is in perfect condition. They would certainly rip out mine! I would like to have a big old-fashioned wooden table where family and friends could eat companiably but I haven't got the room. When a gang come round we have to eat more formally in the dining room.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I must say Cro that in all the magazines I see I never see a large house I could live in - give me a cosy country cottage any time
    I have a big kitchen now - not by choice - but I prefer my farm kitchen with its old Aga and would have it back tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I renovated my kitchen a few years ago. I cook and planned it to work. There is no granite and it isn't open concept. Glad you are back.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I think there's a lot to be said for a well-designed kitchen. The city apartment I am vacating next week has the best kitchen I have ever had and I am not likely to ever have another like it. It's got plenty of accessible storage, an expanse of counter space and a very deep sink. It is the best feature of the apartment and has been a joy to cook in. With lots of counter space, I can work on the whole meal at once. With little space, I find that I need to make one dish at a time.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I despise those shows! They used to exhibit originality, then every house began looking like every other house! "I want an open concept" is insanity. Walls have a purpose...to separate rooms so you can hide messes in one room from the other in case of drop in company!

    Your friend who cooked such amazing meals in the small kitchen probably added the important ingredient of love to every meal...and you can cook a loving meal in any kitchen. xo

    ReplyDelete
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